The 18-month impact of special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children food package revisions on diets of recipient families

Am J Prev Med. 2014 Jun;46(6):543-51.
Authors: Kong A, Odoms-Young AM, Schiffer LA, Kim Y, Berbaum ML, Porter SJ, Blumstein LB, Bess SL, Fitzgibbon ML.

From the accepted, unedited manuscript:

Background: Beginning in 2009, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) revised its food packages and provided more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and fewer foods with high saturated fat content. However, knowledge of the impact of this policy shift on the diets of WIC participants remains limited.

Purpose: To examine the longer-term impact of the 2009 WIC food package change on nutrient and food group intake and overall diet quality among African American and Hispanic WIC child participants and their mothers/caregivers.

Methods: In this natural experiment, 24-hour dietary recalls were collected in the summer of 2009, immediately before WIC food package revisions occurred in Chicago, Illinois, and at 18 months following the food package change (winter/spring 2011). Generalized estimating equation models were used to compare dietary intake at these two time points. Data were analyzed in July 2013.

Results: Eighteen months following the WIC food package revisions, significant decreases in total fat (p=0.002) and saturated fat (p=0.0004) and increases in dietary fiber (p=0.03), and overall diet quality (p=0.02) were observed among Hispanic children only. No significant changes in nutrient intake or diet quality were observed for any other group. The prevalence of reduced-fat milk intake significantly increased for African American and Hispanic children, whereas the prevalence of whole milk intake significantly decreased for all groups.

Conclusions: Positive dietary changes were observed at 18-months post-policy implementation, with the effects most pronounced among Hispanic children.

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